A mesothelioma diagnosis is devastating. Although only 2,000 to 3,000 people are diagnosed with this rare form of cancer each year, mesothelioma is always fatal. That said, there are treatment options, and other, non-medical steps that a mesothelioma patient can take in order to enjoy a higher quality of life during their remaining months or years.
The following is a list of five things you can do after receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis.
Receiving a cancer diagnosis is a traumatic experience, and like any other traumatic experience, counseling and therapy can help a person get through it. A therapist is an emotional outlet that is not subjected to the emotions of the diagnoses like a loved one may be. A therapist can be objective, and help a person address difficult topics like death that may not be suitable to discuss openly with a loved one.
These days, many hospitals and cancer centers have mental health professionals on staff for exactly this reason. They are often available to meet one-on-one with the patient, their family members, and even group family sessions. There is no single, correct type of counseling for mesothelioma patients to pursue, but receiving counseling in some form can help them cope with their diagnosis.
Monitor Nutrition Closely
According to the National Cancer Institute, proper nutrition is necessary for cancer patients in order to help them get the nutrients they need to keep up their body weight and strength, keep body tissue healthy, and fight infection.
Eating habits that are good for cancer patients can differ from what is normally good for a person, and you may need to alter your diet even if it is already considered healthy. Consult your medical team to find a nutritionist that will create a customized diet with all the nutrients your body requires to keep fighting at maximum capacity.
Track Your Cancer
Cancer treatment is complicated and has many moving parts. In order to keep track of all the medications, appointments, pain and side effects from your treatment, you or a family member might want to keep a journal or use software that can help you account for everything.
This will ensure you don’t mix up your different medications, and will provide your doctor with a more detailed description of how your treatment is working and making you feel in between visits. There are even apps that you can download right to your phone that will help you track everything related to your treatment.
A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology seems to suggest that there are medical benefits to self-monitoring your symptoms. The study monitored cancer patients who self-reported symptoms in between visits to their doctor, with nurses getting alerts as soon as a report was submitted. The study found that nurses frequently responded to e-mail alerts with clinical actions, which is excellent for patient care. Based on the findings of the study, the researchers concluded that there are clinical benefits associated with symptom self-reporting during cancer treatment.
Learn About Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a rare and complex form of cancer unlike any other. Its extended latency period and the unique circumstances under which it is contracted are not commonly known among the general public. If you are diagnosed with mesothelioma, you might not have a lot of information about it. Therefore, one of the keys after being diagnosed with mesothelioma is to learn as much about it as possible.
Unlike other forms of cancer that are diagnosed in tens of thousands of people a year, mesothelioma is diagnosed in just a few thousand. This means the general public knows less about mesothelioma than other forms of cancer. Many misconceptions about the disease have arisen as a result, so make sure what you thought you knew about mesothelioma is actually true. You may also want to try and identify how you got it. Looking through a list of industries that used asbestos, and what each used it for, may help you identify the job that exposed you to asbestos.
Learn About Your Legal Rights
Those exposed to asbestos can be entitled to compensation. If you think you were exposed to asbestos but are unable to prove it, hiring an experienced mesothelioma attorney may help. An experienced mesothelioma attorney will travel to you and go through your employment history to determine if you were exposed to asbestos, and help you file a claim if you were.
Depending on how you were exposed to asbestos you may be able to file claims with multiple organizations. If you were exposed to asbestos in the military, you can file a special claim with Veterans Affairs. You may also be able to file a claim with trust funds set up by the asbestos companies for people diagnosed with mesothelioma as well as social security and medicare.
To find out more about mesothelioma visit our Mesothelioma page for a free ebook download that answers the most frequently asked questions we receive about mesothelioma.